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Faculty Research Seminars

Purpose of the Faculty Research Seminar

Intellectual life at Carleton is the most engaged and productive when faculty scholars are debating new ideas that infuse both their teaching and their research. The Humanities Center at Carleton seeks to encourage these integrative connections through Faculty Research Seminars. Participants in the annual Seminar (Faculty Fellows) work on their own individual research projects related to a common theme, and they also read pertinent theoretical and critical work that will enrich both their conversations and their scholarship. The multidisciplinary group promotes excellence and innovation in scholarship, and then extends the resulting intellectual excitement to the rest of the campus through a public forum.

New Humanities Center and Global Engagement Seminar Collaboration

For the 2014-15 academic year, the Humanities Center is teaming up with the Mellon-funded Global Engagement Initiative to offer enhanced funding and new opportunities for Seminar participants.  Please click this link to see our: Call for Proposals.

Eligible Applicants

Faculty of all ranks and staff with a scholarly agenda related to the particular theme are invited to apply. Since the theme changes each year, and since preference is given to faculty who have not participated during the past five years, a large number of scholars will eventually be able to participate in a Research Seminar. Participants are chosen according to the perceived quality and specificity of their proposed projects, the applicability of their work to the theme of the seminar, and the diversity they might offer in terms of field, approach, age, gender, sex, race or experience. Scholars in fields other than the humanities are encouraged to apply.

Benefits and responsibilities of participating in the Research Seminar

The Research Seminar meets throughout the academic year, following a schedule established by the Faculty Fellows, but normally every two weeks during the year. Ideally, each of the participants teaches a course related to the theme or incorporates questions raised by the theme into their own classes during the year. Participants receive a stipend of $2000 (the Seminar Leader, $2500), and a book budget of up to $500 per Seminar. In addition to contributing to the collaborative group and advancing their own research, Faculty Fellows design (with the administrative help of the Center) and participate in a public forum or symposium, which might include a seminar with a visiting scholar, a music, dance, or theater production, library exhibits, student/faculty panels, student videos or other multi-media presentations (see “The Symposium” below). At the end of the year, each participant writes a brief report summarizing the year’s project and evaluating the Seminar.

Selection of the Seminar Theme and Director

In October of each year, faculty members who are interested in leading a Seminar during the following academic year will be encouraged to submit proposals, including a theme as well as their vision of the Seminar. The Director and theme are chosen by the Humanities Center Advisory Board in early November, a call for applications for Faculty Fellows is announced shortly thereafter, and potential participants in the Seminar submit their applications in early January. Faculty Fellows are then chosen by the Director of the Seminar and the Humanities Center Advisory Board.

In order to ensure maximum participation, in some years themes will be chosen in conjunction with other interdisciplinary programs on campus. Possible themes are infinite and arise from the faculty. They might include such topics as “The Environment,” “Word and Image" "Death and Dying," “Globalization,” "Hierarchies of Knowledge," "Magic and Miracles," “The Anatomy of Exile,” “Regenerative Issues,” and “Growing Old, Past and Present.”

There have been six seminars since the founding of the Humanities Center:

2013-14: In Search of the Secular,  directed by Adeeb Khalid, Jane and Raphael Bernstein Professor of Asian Studies and History, with Peter Balaam (English), Scott Carpenter (French), Carolyn Fure-Slocum (College Chaplain), Lori Pearson (Religion) and David Tompkins (History).

2012-13: Varieties of Public Humanities, co-directed by Michael McNally (Religion) and Serena Zabin (History), with Nancy Cho (English), Kelly Connole (Studio Art), Adrienne Falcón (Academic Civic Engagement, So-An), Andrew Flory (Music) and Éva Pósfay (French and Francophone Studies).

2011-12: “Dimensions of Mind,” directed by Roger Jackson (Religion), with Ken Abrams (Psychology), Kristen Bloomer (Religion), Lauren Feiler (Economics), Trish Ferrett (Chemistry), Justin London (Music) and Tun Myint (Political Science).

2010-11: “Knowledge of the Global/Global Knowledge,” directed by Van Dusenbery (Anthropology) and Sigi Leonhard (German and Cross-Cultural Studies), with Arnab Chakladar (English), Ross Elfine (Art History), Dev Gupta (Political Science), Jay Levi (Anthropology), Shana Sippy (Religion) and Gudrun Willett (Writing Program and SERC).

2009-10: “The Philosophy of Place,” directed by John Schott (CAMS), with Deborah Appleman (Educational Studies), Adriana Estill (English and Latin American Studies), David Lefkowitz (Art), Beth McKinsey (English and American Studies), Victoria Morse (History), Dana Strand (French and Francophone Studies) and Hong Zeng (Chinese).

2008-09 Contending Truths,” directed by Bill North (History), with Barbara Allen (Political Science), Peter Brandon (Sociology), Angela Curran (Philosophy) , Clara Hardy (Classics) Beth Kisseleff (Religion and Comparative Literature), and Asuka Sango (Religion).

The Symposium

A forum or a mini-symposium will be organized by the Director and Fellows of the Seminar, with the help of the Director and the Humanities Center Advisory Board. Symposia might include presentations by the Faculty Fellows, a workshop with a visiting scholar, poster exhibits, a music, dance or theater production, multi-media presentations, documentaries, or library exhibits. The symposium will normally take place during the fall term after the Seminar, which will allow participants to conclude the research projects undertaken during the academic year. Some years, the theme and the symposium may be articulated in conjunction with EthIC, ENTS, and other interdisciplinary programs on campus.

The Application Process

Potential Research Seminar Leaders are invited to submit a 2-3 page proposal developing a topic and rationale for the year-long collaboration. After the submission of proposals for themes, the Advisory Board will make a selection based on each topic’s potential for promoting multidisciplinary collaboration and enhancing existing initiatives. A general call for Faculty Research Fellows will then be launched.

Further information: Please contact Susannah Ottaway, Director (sottaway@carleton.edu, 507.222.5446) if you have questions or would like to discuss your ideas for the Seminar.